…but not yet.
Many years ago, I was on a plane about to depart the airport in Lagos (the one in Nigeria, not Portugal).
Sharing the row of seats with me was my colleague, Ricky (not his real name) and an elderly Nigerian woman to whom I’d yet to be introduced.
Some background to Ricky; he was also Nigerian, living and working in London. In his spare time he was a lay preacher at a (very) large Christian church in a converted warehouse in North London.
He didn’t miss an opportunity to remind you of this fact. Think about the most annoying vegan you’ve ever met, then stick a copy of The New Testament in their hand.
Prior to take off, I introduced myself to the old lady and politely asked where she was headed.
“Oh lovely, do you have family there?”
“No, I have a serious medical condition and my family have saved up to pay for me to be treated by the worlds best surgeon for that condition”
At which point, spying an opportunity to talk about his favourite subject, Ricky usurped the conversation:
“I’m a pastor, I am qualified in prayer and the laying of hands. Would you like to pray with me for a cure?”
“Oh yes, I’d like that very much”.
There then followed five tediously long minutes of Performative Christianity with several references to scripture and a grand finale with the claim, through faith, Ricky had cured the old lady of the, presumably, terminal cancer or whatever it was she was going to have removed.
“Oh, thank you so much”, responded the old dear.
“No walhala”, Ricky modestly replied in the vernacular.
Curious, I enquired whether she believed she was now cured.
“What, fully cured?”
“Yes, I believe in the power of prayer”
“Well, the plane doors haven’t closed, there’s still time to leave the plane and save your family a lot of money in medical bills”
“No, I think I’ll still go and see the surgeon”
I’m constantly reminded of this memory whenever I see people, presumably already with the benefit of four shots of a vaccine that prevents them catching and being made sick from Covid, walking around in public wearing non-surgical grade masks.
Now Jesus he came in a vision
And offered you redemption from sin
I’m not sayin’ that I don’t believe you
But are you sure that it really was him
I’ve been told that it could’ve been blue cheese
Or the meal that we ate down the road
I’m a young man at odds with the Bible
But I don’t pretend faith never works
When we’re down on our knees
Prayin’ at the bus stop